College is a Lot Like Laser Tag…

…And other graduation speeches I won’t write.

Last night a group of friends decided to race to the nearest Laser Tag arena after work. Unfortunately, most of us had work, so we managed to only get there an hour before closing. I’m sure the workers were more than delighted to see nine very loud and foul-mouthed college students come pouring in the door just to catch the last session.

I’d thrown out the suggestion that we go play sometime at the beginning of the summer, and found myself incredibly nervous to actually play. I’d only gone once (a birthday party where I believe I was the only girl) and the combination of not-knowing, imminent possible physical activity and tiny children was a sure-fire way to get my anxiety going. 

Needless to say, we got our collective asses handed to us by a group of kids and their parents, who seemed to take even more delight in just following us around constantly tagging our vests while their kids ran into home base. You know the arrogance of a child that knows they’re truly good at something? Like they aren’t being pandered to by adults or let win? There were approximately 800 of them there and they were all running and yelling in the dark while fog machines went off and ALSO there were lasers.

It was when I was leaning against a wall, four tiny kids constantly shooting at me with their later guns, laughing hysterically as I heard my friends yelling things like ‘HAVE WE STARTED?” and “I DON’T KNOW HOW THE LAZER WORKS” that I realized something. Lazer Tag is a lot like college.

At the beginning, you’re funneled into a dark room with a assorted group of people you don’t know, told to get somewhere, given vague rules and sent on the way. You enter into a confusing maze of walls, and don’t get a starting bell. On our team was a mom who had to tell us that the game had started, right as three of us got tagged immediately. There’s also the imminent fear that you’re doing nothing right (we weren’t) and there’s no real point to it (there wasn’t) but it was extremely important to us suddenly to win (we lost both games). To add to the metaphor, people younger than us seemed way more qualified to be playing and knew way more about the game than we did (in my convoluted metaphors, these are high-schoolers). The parents are bored alumni who sometimes helped us out but mostly seemed to have fun watching us mess up. There was also a employee who would intermittenly  wander through and offer advice to me that mostly constituted of ‘gotta say out of the lasers’ and ‘listen to the team leader’. The team leader, in our case, was a small child nick-named Panda who enjoyed screaming incomprehensible  numbers at me regardless of whether I was firing, moving, or standing still. I’m not sure where he figures into the narrative of college, but I’m sure he’s there. 

On the other hand, it was incredibly fun. Sure we lost, but it was incredibly worth it – and I’m not embarrassed to admit it. Those kids were ruthless, and earned their victory. It’s always fun to do new things, especially because I don’t know the next time I’m going to just be able to run into a laser tag arena. When we left, all of us were doubled over in stitches remembering highlights from the adventure.

It was great getting out of the comfort zone and doing something a little silly, a little embarrassing, and yes, childish. But that’s what being an adult is about! I can choose when and where to play laser tag, whenever I want to. Oh, and also I can drink. So I do win in the end.

XX

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Sign of the Times

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These are the carrots I grew! They came out super messed up and weird looking and I couldn’t be more proud of them. What a metaphor for the year.

It’s cheesy to start a blog post about Junior year by talking about a song, but sometimes you need a little cheese. French cheese if you can swing it, but since my accent is terrible I’ll just give you some craft slices…

Two days ago I packed up my room, said goodbye to my friends and hit the gas pedal, driving as far away from Junior year as I could get (only a 40 minute drive, but the poetry sounds good). Then I slept for fourteen hours. Then I did nothing but watch SNL videos on youtube. Now I’m looking over the last year and contemplating, as I always wind up doing, successes and failures and all that junk. I’d like to think I’m a Chill Individual, but at my hearts of hearts, there’s a very anxious perfectionist shrouded under layers of procrastination. So. That’s fun.

Harry Style’s released a song a bit ago called Sign of the Times. It’s a throw back tune with a lot of elements of 70’s rock in it. Now, maybe I don’t understand the lyrics that well, but to me, it’s a sad, bittersweet song about letting go of something. There’s a lot of very angsty lines but ultimately, it may have become the soundtrack to my last few days of junior year. The night before finals ended I put it on repeat and just walked around.

There’s a lot I’m proud of this year. I directed my first show. I got cast as a lead in a musical. I finished a five class workload. I learned how to grow bell peppers. I’ve made amazing friends and had some pretty fun nights (possibly to the detriment of that five-class work load).

Mostly though, I’ve gotten a little better at loving myself. It’s hard to let go of the mistakes I make, and while I was wandering around campus listening to ‘just stop your crying have the time of your life, breaking through the atmosphere, things are pretty good down here’ I realized, once again, how unbelievably lucky I am. I did a lot this year that was good and bad and everywhere in the middle. Looking back though, it’s just one more chapter of my ongoing life. I’m going to look back on this year and not remember the stress or panic I felt near constantly, but snapshots of the good times. Laughing with my friends, dancing like an idiot to Earth, Wind and Fire, playing DnD for the first time. It’s been a whirlwind of a year.

I’m working on living life in the moment instead of constantly worrying about what’s coming next. I’m trying to forgive myself a little more. It’s been a rough journey so far, but junior year was so valuable to me for giving me some of the best friends and memories a girl can ask for.

Thanks to everyone who’s been reading my blog. I appreciate everyone of you. Do yourself a favor and give Harry Styles’s new album a chance. I’m going to put it on blast and enjoy being young – after all, it only comes around once.

(Or at least until we invent transferring human consciousness, but that’s a completely different blog post entirely)

Have an excellent summer – see you soon.

XOXO

 

Amy VS. The Sophomore Slump

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So I guess I’m an upperclassman now. Time flies, and all that jazz. It’s a bit…odd, looking back over my sophomore year and what I think of it. When I was putting together this post, I don’t think I truly appreciated how much of a wringer sophomore year was. Honestly, if my second year at college were an album, it would get mixed reviews. The bands just starting to get it’s sound together, but there’s a long amount of work ahead before a billboard 100 number.

And this metaphor has completely escaped me.

In retrospect, it’s been the most tumultuous year I’ve had since, well, freshman year (pause for cricket noise in place of laughter). Alright, that’s simply not true at all. Freshman year was a blur of ‘i’m at college’ fueled with desperation tinged adrenaline rushes. Sophomore year was like getting sucker punched by reality after getting off that roller coaster. I think the thing I struggled with the most was how transitory and stationary it felt – no one warns you about how much things change. All of a sudden you’re off this high and trying to figure out what’s actually happening – do you really like your friends? Or your classes? Are you sure that’s what you want to major in?

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I’ve lost contact with friends I could have sworn would one day attend my wedding. I experienced the biggest emotional downswing I’ve ever had. I felt frustrated at virtually every point – with classes, with art, with friends, with myself. I suffered a injury that meant I couldn’t exercise anymore, which had a profound impact on my happiness. More than anything else, sophomore year has been about getting over myself and what I envisioned and getting on with things. I literally like like that last grim faced survivor clambering out of the evil cabin into the watery light of a new dawn (or I’ve been watching too much Evil Dead with my dad).

On the other hand, sophomore year has kind of rocked. I’ve spent so much time focusing on the negative that when I was looking over the year, I couldn’t believe how much love and beautiful things I was able to experience. I pushed myself harder this year than any prior, but here’s a quick recap for future posterity (and when I start feeling whiny about my life). I wrote a ten minute play. I was in my first musical. I scripted, directed and acted in a web series. I was the editor for the school journal. I got my writing published in a literary magazine. I was given a grant to do special research that still gives me inspiration and opportunities today. I started a new job – and learned how to sew. I started a podcast. I was able to travel to Siem Reap. I saw my best friend more than once. I saw my other best friend nearly everyday. I saw BEYONCE. I was lucky enough to have my life filled with amazing people – many new, extraordinary friends – who continually pushed and supported me. This may sound like a paragraph full of bragging but I’m proud of the work I did. I’m proud of the way I pushed myself, and struggled to improve. But more than anything, I couldn’t have done it without the never-ending support and love of everyone in my life, and I want everyone to know how much I appreciated them.

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Anyway we’re all beautiful butterflies who are constantly in a state of metamorphosis and self growth blah blah blah whatever you get it. Thank you to anyone who was involved on my journeys, or simply for being there and reading this jet-lagged fueled spew of words. So mostly my mom and the friends she forwards these things to. Hi Mom’s friends! And also Junior year, apparently. I get to do this all again!

From the bottom of my heart – thank you, I love you, goodnight.

XX